Censoring Children

Times have changed since I was a child. Though that wasn’t long ago (I’m only two decades old), it seems pretty distant. When I was under the age of 10 I was watching television shows like: Goosebumps, Are you Afraid of the Dark, Sailor Moon, Carebears, Ducktails, Ninja Turtles, Saved by the Bell, USA high, Fresh Prince of Bellair, Family Matters, Step by Step, Boy Meets World, and the list goes on. Television was somewhat saturated by sex, violence, and teenage drug use, but not so, that my parents had to censor what we watched. Yes there were shows that I wasn’t allowed to look at, but even then, the shows–if they had the ability to be rated–were PG-13. Nothing overly violent or sexual, but just not something my parents were comfortable with me watching. I did rebel–quite often–and late at night you could find me browsing the channel guide, trying to find whatever television show was “naughty” or “off-limits”, but even then these shows were PG-13 shows: Buffy, Charmed, etc.

These days it seems as though television has transformed into something entirely too sexy, violent, and disturbing. And like the internet, it’s extremely accessible to children. On television channels like ABC, NBC, and FOX–channels that most people have without having to pay a chunk of change–there are television shows that contain sex scenes, violent scenes, and/or teenagers rebelling and using drugs. What makes this a bit disturbing, is that these types of shows are shown before nine–when most children are off to bed. This means that children are privy to as much sex, violence, and drugs that their little minds can handle before bedtime . This also means that parents are having to be more restrictive and selective about the type of televisions shows they’d like their children to watch and the times at which the children can watch television. This also means, that parents have to DO more to make sure that there child isn’t being exposed to “subject matters” that simply aren’t appropriate.

While we can easily blame these networks, and society as a whole for transforming into something that is a bit scary(for the future generation)–we must also take responsibility as parents for what we are ALLOWING our children to watch. Not all of us have the ability to stay at home, and censor channels. Not all of have the time to REALLY monitor what channels they are watching. But, it is important that we note and acknowledge that television is different from when we were children, and that calls for a “special” type of parenting. I don’t like the word “censor” because of the stigma, but it seems appropriate for this particular topic. Parents must censor what their children watch, the channels their children look at, and the times at which the children are allowed to watch television. As drastic as it seems, it feels necessary that this happens, especially for households where the children are under age 9.

Parents are you censoring what your children watch? Are you shocked by some of the subject matter in some of the “general mainstream” networks? What are you doing to make sure that your child isn’t exposed to “too much” too young?


2 thoughts on “Censoring Children

  1. Hi,

    Just stumbled upon your blog searching for things about MTV’s “Teen Mom,” and I’m interested in what you have to say about this particular subject matter. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that when you were a kid, you snuck into the “censored channels,” too. We all did. I think it’s a more effective tactic to understand that sex, drugs, and violence are simply realities of today’s culture and to address them as such, rather than to shield children from what they’re probably going to be exposed to anyway at school or wherever. Kids have an uncanny ability to sense evasion and untruthfulness in adults, and I think protecting them and effectively denying their burgeoning sense of reality is potentially more damaging than teaching them honestly and truthfully about sex, drugs, and violence. Children and teens are preoccupied with sex, drugs, and violence because they learned that behavior from adults, and they want to rebel and get involved in things that are considered taboo. Every generation tries to “protect” the next — and it’s never worked. Maybe an alternative is to embrace the positive rather than to deny the negative.

    Anyway, just my thoughts.

    • Hello,

      Thank you for thoughts. I think you have a VERY good point. One that is definitely worthy of discussion.
      As a kid, and even up until I moved out at 18, my parents sheltered me to the point that when I moved out I lacked some of the MOST basic skills. My dad thought that protecting me was somehow “saving” me–and hey I turned out fine so maybe I was protected. But on the other hand, who knows what type of individual I would be if I wasn’t sheltered from “reality”. When I was 9, we were already getting around the topic of “sex”. Most of the conversations were from a 9 year old perspective. But imagine if I was just told the truth by a parent. I wouldn’t need to “hunt” down shows that are “x-rated”–or at least not with the sort of curiousness one has when he/she lacks proper knowledge about an incredibly fascinating topic. On the other hand we obviously don’t want to just sit there and allow our children to watch shows that are blatantly inappropriate. Knowing where the line should be drawn, and where we should be open is important.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s